Roma ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

The cinematography is right in front of you, but in some ways it’s the sound design that really sets this experience apart.

Often in the film there is action happening on two planes. And there is layered audio to match. Other times there isn’t even a foreground/background and instead it’s a jumble that we’re meant to sort through ourselves. Again, the sound backs that up. It ends up being a really immersive experience.

When looking at the themes of the film it’s important to consider who is telling the story. In this case Cuarón is telling the story from his childhood maid’s point of view. That gives a strange twist to things like the happy ending. Of course he would see it that way.

But, I do appreciate that the blurred lines aren’t totally avoided. We’re allowed to be uncomfortable with the relationship between Cleo and the family, even if it’s ultimately framed as a good arrangement.

Along with the the sound design the other noteworthy thing is the pacing. The film has such a steady marching pace that it’s almost difficult to map out things like the story’s climax. There is a relentlessness to the story in that it that never lulls, but also takes it’s time.

The whole thing feels like the waves in the climactic scene, constant and heavy. This is backed up by the cinematography which often consists of slow, but constantly moving, shots.

I think it’s an incredible cinematic experience, and I think the themes definitely lead to some interesting conversations, especially if you consider who is actually telling the story.